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Nielsen reaches agreement with FTC on Arbitron purchase

Nielsen Holdings on Friday announced an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission that the company says clears the way for it to buy Columbia-based Arbitron.

Nielsen, best known for its TV ratings, announced in December plans to acquire Arbitron in a $1.3 billion deal.

The FTC subsequently raised charges that the proposed deal could reduce competition significantly, causing advertisers, programmers and others to pay more for certain audience measurement services.

The agreement calls for Nielsen, within three months, to sell and license certain Arbitron assets related to its cross-platform audience measurement services to a buyer approved by the FTC, the agency said. The buyer also will receive what it needs to replicate Arbitron's role in nationally syndicated cross-platform audience measurement services and to be a viable competitor, the FTC said. This includes receiving technical assistance from Nielsen and allowing the buyer to hire key Arbitron employees, it said.

Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said in a statement that the company was pleased by the FTC action and to have the regulatory process behind it. The deal is expected to close Sept. 30.

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